From Governing Magazine, “The two greatest trends in shopping, it seems, are thrift and togetherness. As one urban planner put it, ‘These days, you either go [shopping] for the experience… or you go to Wal-Mart for the discount.’ Enclosed malls occupy a middle ground, being neither cheap nor fun.” Those malls also require 200 acres, and that’s way too inflexible for our evolving customer-driven economy.
Togetherness refers to retail environments where people can meet others for lunch or dinner in an outdoor setting, meet neighbors spontaneously, see a movie, enjoy an occasional festival and theoretically spend an entire day at, all in a much more intimate public setting a third the size of a regional shopping mall. Things are also rather pricey here.
Thrift refers to the ‘can’t beat it prices’ at Wal-Mart, Target, Home/Office Depot and other big boxes, along with the fast food chains. These are places you want to get in and get out ASAP, because the shopping environment is high stress, uninspiring, cheap, or anything but pleasant to linger in.
Are thrift and togetherness mutually exclusive? That’s the CoolTown challenge.